Author: Frank Ross
Selecting a bow sight that you’re happy with, long after the hunt, begins by matching your personal preferences and the way you like to hunt with the right piece of gear.
The thing about innovation is that designs, which appear perfectly sensible to one, may seem totally harebrained to another. Many years ago, as a teenager, I began shooting a traditional longbow. When compound bows became popular, I made the transition with a bow that had a sight with four brass-pins. As age and failing eyes have crept up slowly, I’ve tried a number of other sights to overcome the difficulty of seeing those dull-colored pins at peak times when game activity is highest and light levels at their lowest. I’ve tried illuminated sights and several of the newer designs with brightly colored plastic pins, several versions with fiber optics and red dot sights as well. What I’ve found is that they all have strengths and weaknesses, and even though most have more good points than bad, being happy with a sight is more about deciding what works best for you and the way you like to hunt.
Today, the selection of sights available to bowhunters is quite diverse, reflecting the individual nature of the sport. Although all sights are designed with the same intent, to increase accuracy and ease of use even under low-light conditions, the one prerequisite that is sometimes overlooked is - where do you hunt?
As a general rule, shooters east of the Mississippi tend to have fewer pins due to denser forest and undergrowth that limit the amount of distance they can shoot, while western bowhunters have to deal with greater distances and much more open terrain, especially when hunting mule deer or antelope. If the longest shot you’ll be making is 30 yards, do you really need four pins?
Although most new designs have reduced fragile elements, you’re still dealing with fairly small points and thin material dictated by the need for pinpoint accuracy. If you tend to be rough on gear or hunt in heavy brush, consider the importance of durability and make sure you have replacement pins. In addition to pins and durability, you should also consider the important issues of low-light usability, and ease of set-up and use as well as simplicity of use under pressure.